House Finch

House Finch

The house finch is a small passerine bird that is part of the family Fringillidae.  They are generally seen hanging onto the food source their eating from, perched, or scavenging the ground for food.

General Characteristics of Finches

The birds are rarely seen walking.  They are known for their hopping abilities, they will place both feet together and hop from location to location.

The birds are hardy cold-weather birds that may be seen in flocks foraging for food in fields, valleys, and woodlands.

Brown and white bird with brown streaks on belly and white wing bars
Female House Finch

• The birds have rounder heads
• Forked or notched tails
• Conical bills for seed crushing
• They sing beautiful songs

Male House Finch

Male House Finch
Male House Finch
  • Bright red on forehead, throat, and breast
  • Brown wings and back
  • Brown streaking on flanks
  • Thick grayish bill

Female House Finch

Female House Finch
  • Brown and streaked with brown and white
  • Thick grayish bill

Finch Feeder Favorites

Crushed eggshells
Niger seed
Sunflower seed

Leafy Greens
Salt blocks

Additional Post: What is safflower seed?

Feed Them Leafy Greens

Dandelion greens
Romaine lettuce
Spring mixes
Mustard greens
Collard greens

When feeding any of the choices be sure the greens are washed and free of pesticides. If picking dandelion greens from your yard make sure you are not using broad-based weed killer to treat your lawn.

Eggshells Provide Birds With Calcium

Calcium for birds is the same as humans, it builds strong bones.

Many birds get enough natural sources during times when plant matter is in heavy growth.  A strong exception to this rule is during the nesting season.

Egg-laying females need extra calcium to help form strong eggshells when they are busy building nests and doing double duty. 

I provide extra calcium for the females – being a female myself and all, I can relate 🙂

Additional Post: Eggshell Suet Recipe

Finch Love An Assortment Of Fruit


To Serve Fruit

1.) Cut the fruits into small, bite-sized pieces
2.) Add only add a handful at a time to keep them from overeating
3.) You want to keep the balance in check for a 75% seed to fruit ratio.

Like us, some birds will choose more fruits and over-indulge.  You want to keep a healthy balance at your feeders.

Additional Post: Dry Fruit For The Birds

Provide A Salt Block

Salt is a mineral that birds, deer, squirrels, rabbits, and a few additional animals need to properly break down food into their diet. An animal will search out a salt block when it is lacking the element in their diet.

Salt helps animals break down seeds and food so that they can digest their food more easily.

It is not necessary to provide one  – but it is nice to offer them one on occasion.


It is not uncommon to see a house finch sipping nectar from a hummingbird feeder.

During the winter months, they actively seek out maple trees and will snack on the sap.

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Facts about the house finch you might not know

When Do They Breed?

Day 1 Finches in Nest

In Wisconsin, the house finch will lay her eggs between March and August.

A house finch couples will successfully raise up to three broods a year.

They can try for additional broods, but for the most part, they are only successful in three attempts a year.

Nesting Habits

The birds will seek out a location they believe to be safe from predators.
Nests are built by the female and normally cup-shaped made from grass, sticks, and feathers and will nest in anything from your hanging planter to old animal homes in hollowed out trees.

They will nest in old bird nests if you leave them up from year to year.


Female house finches will lay between 3-6 eggs. The eggs range from a blue-ish coloring to a greenish-white with black speckled spots on the large end of the egg.

The female will sit on the nest until the eggs hatch and then stay a few days in the nest with the young.

Raising Young

Day 4 Finches in Nest

The female will sit on the nest until the eggs hatch and then stay a few days in the nest with the young.

During the first few days, the male will bring food to the mother and the mother will feed regurgitated food to the young.

After the first few days, the mother will join the father in the hunt for food.

If you want to please mommy and daddy house finch, leave plenty of plant-based, pesticide-free food at your feeders during the time they are raising their young.

I had no clue that house finches fed their young an all-vegetarian diet to their young until they nested in my hanging basket on my deck last year. Right next to their “new” basket home was the planting containers I grew my parsley, a variety of lettuce, spinach, cilantro, and collard greens.  Daddy didn’t have to go far each morning to get the kids fed.  He had a wealth of choices directly under the nest. SMARTY PANTS!

How Long Do The Young Stay?

The young leave the nest after about 13-16 days.

Dad may still feed them for a few weeks after leaving.

It is not uncommon to see the babies hopping around in the yard a few days after leaving the nest.

Because of the heavy growth of conifers around our home – it never fails that I lose at least one hanging basket a year to raising a family of finches.  Last year I closely followed a family and mommy and daddy were comfortable with me checking in every few days. It was a fun bird watching year.


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